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Thursday
Oct272011

Garlic

Hardneck garlic, the kind we grow, is easier to peel than the softneck variety sold in most grocery stores, because it has a single layer of brittle clove wrappers instead of a bajillion layers of papery ones.  ("Bajillion" is a technical term used in the garlic farming trade.)  Just pry the bulb apart, whack the cloves with the side of a knife blade--or the bottom of a can of beans--and take the skin right off.  We grow two main varieties, from planting stock we got from two older farmers in the area; both are delicious, less harsh and more "garlicky" than store-bought types.  It will keep for months--generally until February--in a paper sack on your kitchen counter, or another dry, dark place at room temperature.  Or put some up in olive oil (see below).

Here's how we use garlic:  

Step 1: Saute a lot of it in olive oil.

Step 2:  Put it in whatever you are cooking, unless you are cooking oatmeal.

Step 3: Repeat often.

Garlic in Olive Oil:  To preserve garlic in olive oil, peel as much as you want (do this with a friend and it's more fun).  Put it all into a jar and pour in olive oil to cover.  Put a lid on it and store it in the fridge.  The garlic will stay pretty much as it went in, except it will gradually absorb some oil into itself, and the oil will be garlic-flavored after a while.  I don't know how long this keeps; we've never had it go bad before we ate it or the next harvest came in.